Canadians in Ontario Under 25 Now Have Access to Free Prescription Drugs

Canadians in Ontario Under 25 Now Have Access to Free Prescription Drugs

The new rules are being welcomed by some and criticized for lack of vision, by others.

For those living without socialized, government-run healthcare it may sound fantastical. For Canadians living in the province of Ontario though, it’s another step in a system that’s been giving citizens equal access to free healthcare since the 1960s.

Beginning January 1st, 2018, all youth in Ontario under the age of 25 now have access to prescription drugs for free. This is regardless of your family income, and whether or not you have private insurance coverage.

Prior to the new rules, Ontarians had access to other free medical services such as annual check ups, doctor visits, blood tests and consultations with specialists, but had to pay out-of-pocket for prescription medication, if not insured through extra, private health insurance.

Related: Health Canada Targets Junk Food Ads that Target Kids

The new health program changes that. It’s providing coverage for over 4,400 medications for four million children and youth. Medications covered include everything from insulin to seizure medication, asthma meds, cancer drugs and more.

And while it sounds like a dream come true, not all agree. Some, such as Tamara Kowalska, program leader for The Windsor Youth Center interviewed by the CBC, feel the government should be putting money into funding psychiatric help, addictions counseling and programs that offer free vitamins to youth, instead.

“It is very useful for those times that are needed,” she said to the CBC. “I think we need to think very critically about who is this going to benefit the most and why as a society are we not placing a priority on preventative health care.”

Other provinces apart from Ontario, are taking steps towards this. In British Columbia, preventive HIV medication is now available for free. For more information on this issue, click here.

Photo credits: simon jhuan/

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